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Health Ministry hits out at doctor for criticizing Omicron’s response and quarantine rules

The Health Ministry hits out at a prominent doctor for criticizing Israel’s response to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the government’s quarantine policies.

In an op-ed published today on the Walla news site, Dr Idit Matot of Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital said policymakers continued to be driven by “anxiety and a sense of fear” and noted that despite being more contagious, Omicron is less virulent than previous strains of coronavirus.

“It’s important to know: the figures presented to us on coronavirus patients in hospitals – both mild (mostly) and severe – have coronavirus, but the vast majority of them are not. hospitalized with coronavirus,” wrote Matot, who is director of anesthesia at the hospital.

She said two children being treated in hospital – one for a brain haemorrhage and the other for a bladder infection – are listed as serious cases of coronavirus, although that is not why they are hospitalized.

“Therefore, the publication of the number of serious coronavirus patients that appears in the media every day is misleading,” she said.

Matot went on to say that a new approach was needed for Omicron and called for relaxed quarantine rules for children, especially those who are asymptomatic.

“People are forced to be imprisoned in their homes. We are in a de facto lockdown and the country is on the verge of collapse. Have we gone mad? she said.

Hours later, the Health Ministry issued a statement against Matot calling his proposal to relax quarantine rules “unacceptable”.

“The policy proposed by Professor Matot is likely to cause serious harm to groups at risk and an increase in the number of serious patients and mortality,” the ministry said.

“Unfortunately, the conduct of Professor Matot and the language in which she has chosen to express herself raise fears that the thirst for publicity sometimes exceeds responsibility,” he adds.

He also hits out at Ichilov Hospital for posting excerpts from Matot’s op-ed on its Twitter account, saying it’s “inappropriate and prohibited”.

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